Al-Qaide sympathiser to be sentenced over knife attack on MP

A student in Britain who tried to murder a Labour MP after being inspired by a radical al Qaida cleric linked to the air cargo bomb plot is due to be sentenced today.

A student in Britain who tried to murder a Labour MP after being inspired by a radical al Qaida cleric linked to the air cargo bomb plot is due to be sentenced today.

Roshonara Choudhry, 21, stabbed Stephen Timms twice in the stomach after watching online jihadi sermons by US-born Anwar al-Awlaki.

Choudhry’s attack on the former Treasury minister is thought to be the first al Qaida-inspired attempt to assassinate a politician on British soil.

She knifed East Ham MP Mr Timms as he held a constituency surgery at the Beckton Globe community centre in east London on May 14, smiling and pretending she was going to shake hands with him before plunging the knife into his body.

After being disarmed by the politician’s assistant and held by a security guard, she was arrested and told detectives the stabbing was “punishment” and “to get revenge for the people of Iraq”, the Old Bailey heard.

Another knife was found in her bag which she said she had planned to use if the first one broke.

Police discovered she had also drawn up a list of other MPs who had voted in support of the military action in Iraq.

Scotland Yard’s counter terrorism command took over the investigation after Choudhry’s link to al-Awlaki was discovered.

The cleric, who preaches online in English, is thought to be behind the air cargo bomb plot involving packages sent from Yemen – where he is based.

US investigators believe he is also linked to the army base killings in Fort Hood, Texas, as well as last year’s Christmas airline bomb attempt and the failed Times Square bombing.

But a source said in Choudhry’s case there was “no evidence to suggest there was any contact with anyone” and that she was acting alone “looking at rather than reaching out”.

Choudhry faces jail after being found guilty of attempted murder and two counts of having an offensive weapon at the end of an unusual two-day trial in which she refused to come to court saying she did not recognise its jurisdiction.

The defendant, of Central Park Road, East Ham, east London, had refused to enter pleas to the charges and instructed her lawyers not to challenge the prosecution case.

She was convicted of all three of the counts she faced after just 14 minutes of deliberation by the jury, and will be sentenced via videolink.

Mr Timms, 55, has since made a full recovery and gave evidence at the trial.

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